Quantum Music Brings Chinese Content to the United States
A considerable amount of Chinese content is geo-blocked, meaning that internet access to it is blocked based on location and cannot be accessed in America. Quantum Music provides a way for its users to obtain this material.
Quantum Music is also a WeChat Mini-program, meaning it is one of several sub-applications that can be accessed within the international messaging service WeChat.
The app’s content comprises of 30-minute programs which run 24/7, made up of both original stories and licensed music. Stories for Quantum Music are produced in its Shanghai recording studio. They are meant to assist those adapting to life in North America through the challenges they may face, such as finding a job and navigating the new business world.
“These stories keep reminding our users that yes, you’re experiencing a different culture. You’re struggling sometimes. But you’re not alone,” Zhang said.
The app was launched last November, and, according to CEO Quan Zhang, currently has a couple thousand users. Plans exist to expand use of the app to Australia and Europe. Quantum Music is headquartered in China.
“A lot of these people feel lonely—emotionally and culturally,” Zhang said. “They feel like they’re detached from mainstream society, both in China and [in the U.S] … It’s very difficult to get access to native Chinese content, even if they want to pay for it.”
Zhang himself is a native to China who came to the United States in 2004 to obtain his PhD in physics from the University of Chicago. Before launching Quantum Music, he worked as an investor at Guild Capital, and led investments in startups like Home Chef and Mystery Tackle Box.
Zhang believes that Quantum Music is just the beginning of a $1 billion market. Currently, there is a Chinese population of roughly 7 million in North America which grows by 4% each year. This number is projected to surpass 8 million by 2020, Zhang said.
So far, the company has raised $400,000 in outside funding, and is considering several different revenue strategies, such as advertising, artist promotion, in-app tipping, and a subscription model.
Chinese content is not the only example of geo-blocking. Regarding Netflix, as of August 2016, the only place where one can access the full listing of content and original programming is the United States. Amazon Instant Video also blocked much of its content outside of the United States.